Always something unexpected, that’s a good description of political developments in Turkey. At the beginning of the week, it seemed that the closure case against the ruling AK Party would be dominating the news, but it turned out totally differently: on Tuesday more then twenty people were arrested for suspected links with the Ergenekon gang, a shady organisation that allegedly wants to bring turmoil to Turkish society and thus prepare the country for a military coup. Former army generals were arrested, a journalist, a businessman. Protesters call the arrested people ‘patriots’, who merely support secularism, while those who support the arrests call them ‘coup-planners’. Of course, we don’t know yet what they really are, that needs to be investigated now and judges have to decide. But when you read the comments about the arrests, it strikes me how they scare people. Some feel like the days of the 1980 coup have returned; actually, back then people were being killed on the street, but apparently for some people these arrests cause the same sort of emotions. The arrested men were all fierce opponents of AKP, so you could indeed see the arrests as a way of shutting up opponents. On the other hand, you might argue that Ergenekon investigations have been going on for months now, and that the police is working independently from the government (but you can’t really be sure of that, and is it really a coincidence that the arrests were made on the very same day that the prosecutor was arguing his case against AKP before the court?). If these men were really planning to kill people to bring turmoil to society and carry out a coup, then it’s good they were arrested in time and they should be brought to justice.
In the comments, both those who call the arrested men patriots and those who call them coup planners, seem to share one feeling: fear. Fear that these are the ‘dark days before the beginning of an undemocratic regime’, fear of living in a country where you never know what will happen the next day, fear of the situation getting more and more out of hand and bringing more instability to the country. Fear of a civil war, not with militias fighting each other in the street but an ongoing legal and political fight that can only get more and more out of control. It seems this ‘war’ is already going on, there’s no way of stopping it now. Although I’m an outsider, I can understand and even almost feel the fear that seems to have taken hold of the country.

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  1. […] the ongoing Ergenekon investigations, a few professors from different universities were arrested. Whether or not they are really in the […]

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